Hunting Scenes – Charles Loraine Smith

A Select Party – A Hint to Cambridge Beginners.  Set of six framed hand coloured aquatint engravings after Charles Loraine Smith (1751-1835).  One plate has a watermark of 1813. Engraver not named.  Published by Harridan & Son, Cambridge, undated.

Charles Loraine Smith (1751–1835) of Enderby Hall in Leicestershire was a celebrated horseman, artist and politician. Descended from a family of privilege, he inherited his family seat in Enderby, Leicestershire while still a boy, aged eleven. He studied at Eton College and Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Smith used his knowledge of fox hunting and his artistic skills to paint parodies as well as more serious equestrian subjects. Smith interest in fox hunting brought him celebrity and he was a good friend of Hugo Meynell, who was called ‘the first foxhunter in the kingdom’. Meynell was the master of the Quorn Hunt and Smith was entrusted with that role in Meynell’s absence. Smith was nevertheless able to parody the excessive fashion of fox hunting in his work.

Smith stood as a member of Parliament just once in 1784 for Leicester. He supported Pitt the Younger’s plans for reform and he gave a number of speeches on the subjects of India, Canada and against the receipts tax and the slave trade. In 1783 he became the High Sheriff of Leicestershire.

When in Florence Smith posed for the now-famous painting by Johann Zoffany of the Tribuna of the Uffizi, a group portrait of British aristocrats on the Grand Tour.